Former Catalan police chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, gave testimony in court this Thursday. Indeed, the Mossos d’Esquadra responsible at the time of the referendum was one of the most highly anticipated witnesses in the trial of independence leaders.
He told far right party Vox, who acts as popular accusation in the trial, that
134 polling stations were closed during the independence referendum by the Catalan police, while another 250 were never opened. Moreover, Trapero’s officers seized 432 ballot boxes, 90,000 ballots, 70,000 envelopes, 4 computers, one mobile phone, as well as documents. Thus, he defended the Catalan police opreation during the 1-O and considered that they “acted with loyalty”.
However, he admitted feeling “uncomfortable with the political situation in Catalonia ahead of the referendum vote” and described some of former Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Joaquim Forn’s comments as “irresponsible”. Trapero acknowledged he shared court and prosecutor orders with Forn because he had the “political” responsibility over the Catalan police. He did so because he “respected him” and because he understood that the 1-O was set to be an extraordinary episode.
Trapero also explained that he learned Pérez de los Cobos, top official of Spain’s Guardia Civil, would be the 1-O police coordinator during the first meeting with him, as prosecutors didn’t inform him beforehand. He admitted feeling “certain tension” with him, as they had different criterias regarding the use of force. He said that during the law enforcement meetings Spain’s police gave little information on his planned operative. “Spanish Civil Guard only presented a draft with little information. Spanish National Police didn’t present anything. We presented an action plan for a police operation.”